The diet industry is a huge money-maker in the United States, and with good reason. Recent studies indicate that almost 40 percent of adults in the U.S. are obese, and about 17 percent of teenagers. When there are so many diets from which to choose, why are so many people still struggling with their weight? It could be because permanent weight loss requires more than just a diet: it takes a lifestyle change.
- Eat mindfully. Start reading labels, to get an idea of what you’re putting into your body in terms of calories, carbs, and sugar. Use smaller plates to control portion size, and choose food that is good for you, but that you enjoy. You’re not going to stick to a plan for the rest of your life if it makes you miserable. When you eat, don’t multitask by watching television, working, or talking on the phone. Instead, concentrate on what you’re eating, taking time to savor every bite.
- Change the way you look at food. For many of us, food is a comfort, entertainment, reward, and a host of other things it shouldn’t be. If you start to think of your food as fuel, you’ll find that your attitude towards food will shift, and you’ll make better choices, picking nutrient-dense foods that keep your body at its peak performance.
- Ditch the sodas. There are many different schools of thought about what it means to maintain a healthy diet, but on one point everyone is clear: sodas are unhealthy, providing only empty calories. Ditto for high-calorie, high-sugar sports drinks, and coffee drinks. Don’t drink calories!
- Work exercise into your daily routine. Take an evening walk. Park your car far away from your office, or, better yet, bike to work. If you have a sedentary job, or you’re likely to veg out on the couch at night, set an alarm to go off every hour and remind you to take a break and get a few minutes of exercise. Use the stairs instead of the elevator, and take a walk on your lunch break. Once you start finding ways to fit in exercise, you’ll be surprised at how many opportunities you actually have to get moving.
- Try something new. Rent a bike and take it out on some nearby trails. Try indoor rock climbing. Give kayaking a shot, or join a “Couch to 5k” program and participate in events with your new friends. Keep trying new things until something clicks, and becomes an active pastime you want to do all the time. Cut back on inactive pursuits, in favor of something fun and interesting that will also help you stay healthy and fit.
- Know your triggers. Do you eat when you’re bored, lonely, frustrated, or sad? Do you overeat while watching television, or after a stressful interaction? Are there certain foods that you can’t seem to stop eating if you start? Is it easier to control your eating if you plan your meals in advance? Knowing what causes you to overeat and planning to succeed is vital in maintaining healthy lifestyle choices.
If it’s time for you to make a lifelong lifestyle shift, Garden State Bariatrics can help. An MBSAQIP accredited bariatric practice, we provide surgical and ongoing medical care to help patients reach their surgical, nutritional and lifelong goals. Passionate about our work and committed to our patients’ success, we will do everything possible to assist you in living your best life.